Shih Tzu puppy go through some different growing stages till it becomes an adult.
Neonatal to three weeks: At the time of birth, the Shih tzu puppy sleeps a lot, can touch, taste, smell & feel pain but is deaf and blind. The pup open eyes for the first time round 10 days after birth, its vision remains unclear for 2-3 weeks till it improves to full sight and its ears also open at this very age for the first time.
Between four to seven weeks: During this stage the mother begins weaning (pup is stopped from feeding on its mother’s milk) & should be started on other food. The shih tzu puppy starts eating some solid food, initiates playing & grows fast amid this stage & absorbs to be a dog as gets familiar with littermates its mother. The puppy gets capable of learning, so training for few basic commands is started.
Between Eight weeks to twelve months: During this stage, the pup gets inquisitive about its environment and starts attempting to explore all around it. It can differentiate between humans & dogs. The pup gets further stable on its four paws & the teething process starts & puppy should be given chew toys as soothers. In this stage the pup learns social association with his littermates, learns to play, wrestle & bite.
This is the ending stage of puppyhood & the growth rate slows down. The female shih tzu puppy practice its first heat cycle during this stage. A year old shih tzu is considered an adult.
Special Caring Tips for Shih Tzu’s growth & behavior
Taking exceptional care of the Shih Tzu puppy during the first twenty weeks of its life is most essential while keeping various factors in mind as below:
In the early weeks of Shih Tzu puppies’ life, the mother teaches them elementary manners, as accepting her the leader, behavior of demanding & sharing milk, not to move away from siblings, etc. so for best social development, the puppies must not be separated from the Mom or littermates for more than 10-15 minutes/day for at least 7-9 weeks of age. The puppies that are detached from the pack at early stage, remain tense & mostly bark and bite & have problem in socialization and training.
The preeminent period in a Shih Tzu puppy’s life to absorb social skills is considered between 3 & 16 weeks of age. The owner must avail this period to assure that the puppy raises up to be a stable dog. The puppy must not be scolded to be disciplined for barking, playing, fighting, housebreaking faults as it is an ordinary conduct of the puppy at this age. Around the 4th week the owner can initiate to introduce food to the pups gradually, as their Mother weans them.
The pups between 8 Weeks to 3 Months learn rapidly & are also fearful so the owner must be very polite & must avoid from harsh discipline, loud voice & any other distressing event, while teaching simple commands as: sit, down, come, stay, go, etc. & Leash training. The owner must not leave the puppy alone at this time, as it will learn behaviors & conducts that may affect it in future.
The Juvenile Stage:
The period between 3 to 4 months of age is the juvenile stage of the puppy & its behavior is most like a toddler i.e. little more independent, start ignoring the recently learned commands. So a stable, tender, generous & gentle reinforcement of orders & training is essential here.
The owner must play with the puppy & mange it daily, but shouldn’t play wrestling with it & specifically if it wins, it will observe wrestling as a game of ascendancy or power. As the puppy will grow stronger in future & it will need to play-fight which could be unsafe for the owner.
The “Spoilt Pup” Stage:
Between 4 to 6 months the puppy will exhibit even more freedom, willful disobedience & annoying attitude. At this time, it’ll be going through a teething problem & will also be eyeing things to chew on in order to get relief of the pain. The owner must give it soothing toys & frozen doggie bones during this period.
It may declare his ascendancy over children & other family members. The training in obedience and basic commands must be continued at this time. When you are in a public place, never take the chance of unleashing it during this time, as mostly the pups in this stage disregard commands & do not return to their owners, this breakdown between the relation of owner & pup can be very dangerous resulting in injury or death.
During this stage the dog will have the hormonal changes due to its growing sexual maturity & the signs of treachery will be very prominent. The dog should be neutered at this time & if it is a female must be spayed.
The Young Adult Stage:
Between 6 to 18 months the dog gets young, spirited & energetic this stage is generally a great time in dog’s life. The owner should progressively increase the choice of activities & training for the dog like herding or agility training, extend its activities to interact with non-threatening or non-violent dogs.